Builth Wells High School has received a formal notice from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales Estyn, that the school has been removed from special measures.
A follow-up inspection which took place between 14 and 16 November has concluded that the school has delivered improvements across all of Estyn’s recommendations. Their report states that Builth Wells High School is judged to have made sufficient progress in relation to the recommendations following the core inspection in October 2015.
The report notes that “Senior leaders and governors work well together to provide appropriate challenge and support to staff,” and “This has helped to establish a strong, whole school focus on improving pupil outcomes, enhancing the quality of teaching and improving pupils’ literacy skills.”
In regard to leadership, the report states “The headteacher and her senior leadership team work together well to drive forward a range of effective improvement strategies” and “leaders at all levels have a secure understanding of particular strengths as well as key areas for improvement.”
This is fantastic news for the whole school community and understandably we are delighted with the outcome. Estyn have recognised the strong progress during the past two years, and have highlighted clear areas of strength now in the school but we are also clear that this is a first important step in our on-going efforts to make Builth Wells High School an excellent school, where parents and the whole community have high aspirations for our children and where we consistently deliver high quality education for every learner.
The inspection report on Builth Wells High School is available to read at www.estyn.gov.wales
Builth Wells High School really does have the nicest kids in town!
Builth Wells High School returned to Wyeside Arts Centre this December with ‘Hairspray – The Musical’, following up on their fantastic 2016 version of ‘Into the Woods’. This year’s show was a singing and dancing marathon set in 1960s Baltimore, USA where tensions are high as the talented Tracy Turnblad and her Afro-American friends dance and fight for equality.
The whole musical resonates with a strong message about the fight for equal human rights and the huge cast of all ages delivered a powerful message on the stage of the Market Theatre, displaying their slick dance moves, some stunning solos, fantastic costumes, and a script bursting with wacky humour. The Director, Drama Teacher Robyn Lewis, was brimming with praise for everyone involved in the production,
“This was our biggest production yet and I wasn’t sure if we’d reach the heights of last year’s show but this cast and crew have stepped up and delivered once again. I’m so proud to work with these guys, they really knocked the audience’s socks off!”.
Musical Director Mrs Elin Ennis said,
“The score for this show has been challenging in many ways; there are so many big show-stopping numbers and hardly any rest for the orchestra during the two-hour show. All the pupils have done a wonderful job – they have all been so professional.”
The 12-piece orchestra including Head of Music Miss Rhiannon Rhys-Jones, spent every performance tightly packed into the ‘cosy’ Wyeside orchestra pit and never stopped the beat as they powered through every single one of the amazing ‘Hairspray’ numbers including ‘Good Morning Baltimore’ and ‘Welcome to the Sixties’.
As regards the amazing dancing in the show, four pupils were responsible for the show-stopping choreography namely Katie Davies, Katie Hammond, Caitlin Price and Caitlin Mills. The intricate lightning-fast moves and smooth subtle touches in scenes such as ‘I Can Hear the bells’ and ‘The Madison’ held audiences captivated. Katie Davies said,
“We’ve enjoyed every minute and I’ve loved working as a team to put these dances together. There were some tired legs at ten o’clock on Saturday night but that just shows how much energy every single cast member has put into this show.”
The show was driven along at the speed of a runaway soul-train by Morgan Ellen-Field as Tracy Turnblad whose amazing vocal solos and comic touch made every scene a delight. There can be few better young actresses to have ever played the part.
Swooning and crooning his way into Tracy’s heart was the ever-sparkling Link Larkin played by the charismatic and super-confident Steffan Towns. Steffan poked gentle fun at the iconic teen idols of the 60s and was one of the many actors who barely had a chance to catch breath throughout the two-hour long show.
The role of Tracy’s Mom Edna is traditionally played by a male actor and Dylan Sterry in Year 10 delivered an unforgettable performance wearing more layers than an arctic explorer. Dylan had audiences in stitches as the hilarious, overweight housewife who finds her dream come true with her daughter.
Amongst so many other amazing performances Katie Jones played the soulful, rhyming and wholly inspiring Motormouth Maybelle. Katie provided the performance’s goose bumps moment with the song “I Know Where I’ve Been”.
Ruby Garner was wonderful and spat venom as the vicious Velma von Tussle and her daughter Amber, the original mean girl, was played to pouting perfection by Mabli Jones. Both actors also gave very polished solo vocal performances with ‘Miss Baltimore Crabbs’, ‘Cooties’ and ‘Mama I’m a Big Girl Now’.
Mabli’s sister Bethan shone on her stage debut as Penny Pingleton, the plain teenager who falls for the dirty dancing of Seaweed J Stubbs the hipswaying-girlslaying Luc James. Bethan and Luc provided many of the memorable romantic and comedy scenes during the show.
Holding the whole show together with his quick-fire, quip-filled deadpan delivery was Alfie Arnold as Corny Collins the eponymous host of the Corny Collins Show. Alfie delivered his smooth and confident character in perfect American patter.
Some of the best lines of the show were those delivered by Reuben Davies as Wilbur Turnblad, owner of the Har-De-Har-Hut Joke Shop. Reuben upstaged almost everyone at some point with his crazy character’s comic timing.
Soulful support was provided by Elin Davies, Tegwen-Bruce Deans and Olivia Robins as ‘The Dynamites’ who shone in pink sequins and were possibly the most glamourous scene movers of any play. The rest of the back-stage team excelled in invisibility and handled the large, colourful set with expertise led by Stage Manager, Mr Steffan Evans.
The most influential presence back stage was that of Mrs Katy Yeandle who managed costume changes while being heavily pregnant. Mrs Yeandle was ever present during the week-long stay in Wyeside and even drove three hours through the snow storm of Friday night. No one exemplifies the dedication of BWHS staff more than Mrs Yeandle who is expecting her second child in the new year. It might not be a surprise if her new born baby came into the world singing and dancing.
Finally, but by no means least, the rest of the huge cast deserve high praise indeed especially Annie Cromie as the Prison Matron, Nancy McPartlin as Harriman F. Spritzer and Dafydd Woodland as Mr Pinky. Throughout the whole run, the energy and professionalism of the whole cast and crew supported the main cast every step of the way.
This was the last production under the name Builth Wells High School and it was a performance that saw a long tradition go out with a bang.
We will be back soon. Watch this space!
Tîm Cynhyrchu Production Team
Mr Robyn Lewis
Mrs Elin Non Ennis
Mr Stephen Mason
Miss Rhiannon Rhys-Jones
Mrs Katy Yeandle
Mr Steffan Evans
Cyfarwddwraig Cerdd Musical Director
Cyfarwddwraig Cerdd Musical Director
Athrylith Gwisgoedd Costume Genius
Rheolwr Llwyfan Stage Manager
Mrs Elin Non Ennis
Miss Rhiannon Rhys-Jones
Mrs Abi Hook
Tîm y Llwyfan Tech Team
Prif actorion Main cast
Amber Von Tussle
Velma Von Tussle
Seaweed J. Stubbs
Y Cast The Cast
Harriman F. Spritzer
‘The Dynamites’ Judine
Diolch yn fawr iawn i
Wyeside Arts Centre, especially:
Builth Wells High School staff, friends and parents especially:
Neil Morris and George Jenkins
Dr Bernard Jones
Your Green future Day
On 7th November 2017 pupils from a range of Powys schools attended the Your Green Future Day held at the Royal Welsh Showground at Llanelwedd, supported by Severn Wye Energy and a wide range of local businesses. The Day was opened by Chris Davies AM who spoke about the need for sustainability and the potential for future employment opportunities within the Green economy.
The day had a number of workshops relating to green energy and sustainability including a Dragon’s Den where pupils listened to presentations from two businesses and awarded each business money to further their projects, a sustainability project for local businesses to help them improve their recycling. In the afternoon, the pupils were involved in a Job Fair hosted by a range of green energy companies and local businesses with the support of Careers Wales.
Official news release below from Severn Wye energy:
On the 7th and 8th November over 270 students, 30 teachers and 20 businesses came together for a careers event with a difference at the Royal Welsh Showground; the first event of its kind to take place in Wales.
Your Green Future is a sustainability-related careers event, run by Severn Wye Energy Agency. At the event, students worked with professionals from local businesses to solve a range of sustainability problems and visited a career pathways exhibition where they had a chance to talk to local employers and education providers in order to find out more about the opportunities available to them.
Mark Stead, Senior Education Project Manager at Severn Wye Energy Agency stated, “Many people don’t realise but Wales is fast becoming a leading testbed for sustainable development and the expansion of the ‘green economy’. This event helped to raise awareness of the range of jobs available and how students can develop the knowledge and skills required.”
Chris Davies MP said, “I was delighted to attend the first ever ‘Your Green Future’ event in Wales, held in Builth Wells, and to give the opening speech to pupils from across Powys. It was great to see companies and organisations engaging pupils and providing them with invaluable knowledge about our continually growing, green economy. I wish the team behind Your Green Future all the best moving forward and hope they put on another event in Powys very soon.”
The event was funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development with additional funding provided through the Big Lottery Fund. It was supported by Powys County Council, Careers Wales, Rotary and STEM Ambassadors. Brecon and Gwernyfed schools would like to thank Rotary for subsidising their transport costs for the event.
To find out more about ‘Your Green Future’ events, you can visit www.yourgreenfuture.org.uk.
To find out more about the ‘Our Future’s People’ project (of which YGF is a part) you can visit www.ourfuturespeople.org.uk
Powys Have Your Say Day
On 20th November 2017 eight of our pupils attended the Powys County Council “Have Your Say Day”.
Official press release from Powys County Council:
Over 100 young people came together this week from across the county to talk about their health and well-being for the future.
The ‘Have Your Say Day’ event took place in Llandrindod Wells on Universal Children’s Day - 20 November - a day which celebrates Children’s Rights across the world and promotes the improvement of child welfare.
Young people, aged 10 – 25 years old, took part in the event and told us their views on various aspects of their lives such as health, safety and jobs. Young people’s views will be used to inform the Powys Well-being Plan, the 10-year joint Health and Care Strategy and the Area Plan for the county. This event launched the 12-week consultation on the draft Powys Well-being Plan.
Executive Director of Nursing, Rhiannon Jones, co-chair of ‘Start Well’ - Children and Young People’s Partnership, asked participants to ensure their voices were heard during the day to shape future services in Powys based on ‘what matters to them’. Rhiannon says: “The vision of a healthy, happy and safe Powys for children and young people was shared and it was pleasing to see that the issues raised through the multiple workshops aligned incredibly well to these principles.”
Powys Youth Forum members Tom White and Lydia Jarman opened the event. Tom spoke about his recent visit to Westminster as the Powys representative on the UK Youth Parliament and the importance of lobbying for change. Lydia spoke about her work on Powys Youth Forum.
Lydia, aged 16 and a student at Llanidloes High school says: “It’s been an interesting day, with workshops on topics that I feel very passionate about such as mental health and post 16 education. It’s great that some primary school pupils were able to take part too, giving them opportunities to learn about their rights from a young age.
“I was pleased to be able to let everyone know about Powys Youth Forum and the work we do to stand up for children’s rights. I think the day was very important for giving young people information about what is going on in the county, and to let them know that they do have a voice and their voice is actually being listened to.”
Deputy Leader of Powys County Council, Cllr Aled Davies says: “It was fantastic to see so many young people from across the county come together to discuss what is important to them. It’s crucial that we hear the views of young people and that these help us shape priorities and change across public services.
"I enjoyed the event and know we had some good feedback on how we can tackle big issues such as apprenticeships, emotional health and wellbeing and improving digital technology.
"The event was just one way for us to hear the voice of young people in Powys and I would urge all ages to take part in the Well-being consultation events taking place across the county and online at www.powys.gov.uk/haveyoursay. The consultation runs until Sunday 11 February 2018."
Cabinet Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, joined a panel to respond to some of the issues raised throughout the day. Young people fed back the main concerns raised at the workshops to a panel made up of Simon Prince from Mid Wales and West Fire Service, Cllr Aled Davies, Kirsty Williams AM, Director of Education Ian Budd, Interim Director of Social Services Phil Evans and Executive Director of Nursing Rhiannon Jones. Issues raised included school budgets, mental health support, cyber-bullying, road safety, street lighting and better access to broadband
The event was run on behalf of the Powys Regional Partnership Board and the Powys Public Service Board, with support from members of Powys Youth Forum and practitioners from across the council, the health board, fire service and other agencies.
Royal Welsh Show Winter Fair
We are very grateful to the organisers of the RWAS Winter Fair for generously donating tickets which enabled our pupils completing their Level 2 BTEC qualification in Agriculture with Coleg Sir Gar to visit free of charge. The Agricultural course is school based using local Powys farms such as Pentre Farm, Merthyr Cynog for all practical activities supported by Mr John Davies.
As part of the course a number of assignments have to be completed and our pupils gained additional benefit from attending the Winter Fair to gain access to a variety of options to source information not always or easily available in school.
We took 9 year 10 pupils and they were accompanied by their course tutor from Coleg Sir Gar. They were tasked with completing a number of worksheets and collecting information that would be used as a resource to assist them with their assignments.
Refurbishment of the school
Our Caretakers George and Neil have had a busy term refurbishing the girls’ toilets. The work involved re-plastering the walls; a new ceiling; new mirrors and a fresh coat of paint.
George and Neil spent ten days in December completely refurbishing the Design and Technology Room to turn it into a fresh and vibrant Innovations Centre. As you can see from the following photographs, a huge effort from everybody involved in this project including Billy Canning our electrician, Calibre our IT company and Butterfield’s Flooring have completely transformed this learning environment.
Following another year’s hard work litter picking at the RWAS by pupils, parents, staff and the community and money previously raised by the Friends of BWHS, the school has been able to invest in much needed new equipment. A new Laser Cutter and 3-D printer have been purchased for Design Technology to go in the new Innovations Centre and the refurbishment of the IT equipment in IT1 is underway. Thanks to the generous fund raising by the Friends the 20 new IPADS have arrived and are being equipped with the latest Apps.
We are delighted to have raised £475.62 for the BBC Children in Need appeal.
Caban Scriblio success
On Sunday 19th November, year 11 pupil Cameren Price was featured reading his poem The Hill on the Radio 4 programme Poetry Please as part of the Children in Need omnibus.
The hill is a lone green ribbon
blowing in the wind.
The wind, the wind that blows you down.
The hill is a city skyline
The changes, the changes that shape
The hill is a long winding path
that goes on for eternity.
The eternity that goes to
the end of time.
The hill is the view from the backseat
of the car, the feeling,
the desperation to get out.
Past Pupil Success
We are delighted to celebrate the recent successes of two past pupils.
Congratulations to Natalie Powell who recently came third in the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year competition. Natalie Powell says she is targeting the European and World Championships in 2018 after becoming world number one.
Natalie became the first British judoka to top the world rankings after beating Marhinde Verkerk to claim - 78kg gold at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.
We are delighted to hear that Morgan Jones will be representing Wales at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018, competing in the T47 100 m.
Morgan sent us a lovely email message:
I wanted to send a message of thanks to the P.E. department, especially Mrs Williams, Mr Davies and the 5x60 officers, for all their support and encouragement when I was starting out in athletics and for always making every P.E. session enjoyable. The positive experience of P.E. in school has played an important role in keeping me involved in sport and in finally gaining selection for a major international championship.
Our football team have played well this season and both teams go through to the last 16 of the Welsh cup.
Builth 1 - 0 Llanfyllin
Scorer: Iwan Coyle
Builth 4 – 2 Ysgol Uwchradd Caereinion High School
Scorers: Thomas Hughes, Reuben Edwards, Callum Fergusson and Luke Brown
Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day – 20th December
Everyone who donates £1 (or more if you can) to take part in this year’s silliness will be doing some serious good around the world.
Your jumper could be the difference between a hot meal or no meal. It can help bring essential healthcare, education, protection and food to millions of children around the world who are missing out on these basics.
Your support can protect children from easily preventable yet still deadly diseases like malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia.
And it can help Save the Children reach children who are forgotten simply because they were born in a remote village, because they’re girls or refugees, have a disability or are from a minority group.
Whether you go full-on Twinkly Bauble Pom Poms or play it cool with a Snowy Tree Star, the money you raise can help make a world of difference to children in desperate need – and give them the chance to be children again.
Go big. Go bold. It’s Christmas!
Dates for the diary
Tuesday 19th December 2017 – School Carol Service at 6.00pm in St Matthew’s Church, Llanelwedd
Wednesday 20th December 2017 – last day of term.
Wednesday 20th December 2017 – Christmas jumper day
Monday 8th January 2018 – INSET day for staff training
Tuesday 9th January 2018 – pupils return to school
Thursday 11th January 2018 – Year 12 and 13 Parents’ Evening 4.00 – 6.30 pm in Y Bwyty
Thursday 18th January 2018 – Year 11 Parents’ Evening 4.00 – 6.30 pm in Y Bwyty